Day 1 of the Inaugural Championship Event Starts Thursday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bass fishing enters a new era on Thursday when 24 women will cast their lines on Day 1 of the inaugural Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship, Feb. 22-24 on Lake Mitchell out of Gadsden, Ala. Contenders, who advanced via their top-12 status in the Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year standings (pro and co-angler), wrapped up their final practice day on Lake Mitchell on Wednesday.

The top WBT pro will take home a first-place prize of a 2007 fully rigged Triton boat valued at $50,000 as well as $10,000 cash. The total prize purse is $225,750, and the winning co-angler will receive a Triton/Mercury package valued at $24,000, plus $1,000 cash.

Here’s a sampling of the WBT’s final practice results and a sneak preview of what’s to come during the competition:

• Women’s Bassmaster Tour Pro Angler Lucy Mize, from Ben Lomond, Ark.: “I figured out a lot today about my fishing. I tried a variety of different things and hope that it will get better each day. I think that change in warm weather will help everybody and with the sun shining it should help the fishing.

“I think it will take about 40 pounds to win the tournament. You’ll see some big sacks caught, but whether the girls can catch them three days in a row – that will be the trick.”

• Women’s Bassmaster Tour Pro Angler Emily Shaffer, from Mount Juliet, Tenn.: “Today I went out to see what I could find versus the pre-fish period. The water was more muddy and stained, but I used my depth finder to run over my spots and I feel good about it.

“They’re (the bass) not as active as I would like them to be, but I’m hoping that the sunshine tomorrow will put them on some structure. I’m fishing a variety of lures, looking for a quick bite in the morning so I can slow down and go after the bigger fish.”

• Women’s Bassmaster Tour Pro Angler Cindy Hill, from Smyrna, Tenn.: “I looked at new areas today and the water is a lot higher than 30 days ago. It’s stained with not much current which makes a difference.

“I think it will take 15-18 pounds a day to win the tournament, but it doesn’t matter if I catch I fish, I already feel like a winner.”

• 2006 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year Dianna Clark, from Bumpus Mills, Tenn.: “The water temperature dropped quite a few degrees and so some things did change. It can be a completely different tournament by tomorrow, but I feel confident that I’ll catch fish.

“This tournament won’t be a Guntersville or a Lake Amistad, but instead I think it will be neck and neck. It could turn around for anyone competing.”

On the final day of competition, the top-six WBT pros will weigh-in on the Bassmaster Classic stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. The 12 co-anglers will compete in a two-day tournament finishing on Friday.

Sponsors of the Women's Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano.

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